New drug gives dogs with cancer hope

Posted By elaine on January 13, 2010

Melanomas reportedly make up 4 percent of all tumors in dogs.

Melanomas reportedly make up 4 percent of all tumors in dogs.

A new drug could give dog’s with a certain kind of cancer a little hope now that a pharmaceutical company was given the thumbs up to market the vaccine in the US. 
    Vical Corporation is planning to launch the drug called “Oncept” this weekend at a veterinary conference in Orlando.   The company’s licensee Merial Limited will distribute the drug now that U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has licensed it.  The vaccine will target melanoma and according to the company, it can significantly extend a survival time that is typically six months or less.
   Melanoma is a common type of cancer in dogs and is the most common malignant tumor of the dog’s mouth and can also occur in the nail and footpad. Canine oral melanoma may affect any breed and is a highly aggressive cancer. Normal treatment for canine oral melanoma includes surgery and/or radiation, but even after successful local treatment, the melanoma frequently spreads throughout the body, including the lymph nodes, liver, lungs and kidneys, and is often resistant to chemotherapy  

     Vical’s Chief executive Vijay Samant, says the company believes that the development was an important step towards a similar type of vaccine for humans.

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